29 People hurt in Alton Towers accident

Posted | Contributed by supermandl

Nearly 30 people were injured when a carriage came loose on a ride at Alton Towers amusement park. Four people were taken to hospital and 25 others were treated for minor injuries after the front end of the Runaway Mine Train carriage became separated from the rest, then rolled into the back end.

Read more from The Times.

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This is the first time I've ever taken a look at what a powered coaster looks like. I don't know anything about them, so could someone explain how they work, and what advantages they have?

Yikes, has this been a worse than average year accident wise. It's getting to the point where it seems like everday you go here and there's a new headline.

Kenmei's avatar
I too would be interested to hear how they work if anyone would be good enough to post the info.

And I agree, it is a very odd year for incidents. Sad to say it, too. =(

SFoGswim's avatar
Like someone earlier said, I think it also doesn't help that information travels more and more freely everyday, so there's a chance that we're just hearing about more.
DawgByte II's avatar
I highly doubt that...

We've had the internet around for nearly 20yrs... much more mainstream since 1995 when AOL came around & Netscape also became very popular.

Coasterbuzz has been around since 1999. I don't remember a year where there were so many coaster-related accidents or even this many critical injuries/deaths on rides. We've had a couple stand-outs in the past such as '03's Superman @ New England tragedy, or 99's Superman @ Darien Lake fall-out...

...but I don't remember hearing about as many coaster collisions & other coaster related accidents (with riders involved) as much as I have in 2006. Not saying that rides aren't safe... but it is a unusually high number being reported, at least once every-other-week on average now.

Powered roller coasters have an electric motor built into the coaster train. A powered "third-rail" in the coaster structure supplies juice to the motor which then moves the train along.

You can see a picture of the rail here:


I'm sure these things can't be cheap to operate. My understanding of their benefit is you can fit a full size coaster train in a very small space. Also, the structure is not very tall. You can hit 20-30mph with only a 10-foot high structure. Actually you could do it with no incline at all.

You can get an idea of their compact size here:


I don't know if there is only one motor for the whole train or if each car has it's own motor. At first I thought the motorized car might have disconnected and kept going around the track but the article indicated the front car rolled back into the rest of the train. Not sure how that happened.

Kenmei's avatar
I could be very mistaken, but doesnt Whizzer at sfgam work much the same way? Like I said I could be very wrong. ^_^ I'm not half as knowledgable as most people around here.
SFOGswim, there definitely have been more accidents this year so far. Information has always traveled fast since the internet became popular. I've been on this site since 2000, and I can tell you that news updates--including international--have always been fast. It's sort of like that old MTV news slogan "You hear it first." I can't remember if they still use that slogan or not, as with the internet it should probably be changed to "You hear it last."
The Whizzer, along with Jumbo Jets use motors mounted in the cars to pull them up the circular lift hill. Once over the top the motors do not engage again untill they are back at the loading platform. The Mack powered coasters, ususally called Runaway Trains, Blauer Eizen, and a few other names, the motors are more or less in continous use throughout the course of the ride.
john peck's avatar
I Wonder if Canada's Wonderland closed theirs for inspection.
The same exact accident (cars breaking off and then slamming each others) happened last on another Mack "Runaway Train", that time at Bobbejaanland... There may be something wrong with them.

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